Feature Chick-fil-A Helps Employees Attend College “I feel so very thankful that I work in a place that would help me go to college and give me a chance at a bright future,” says Alex Gillie, a current Chick-‐fil-‐A employee. Gillie, who works at a Chick-‐fil-‐A location in Eastchase, Ala., is a recipient of the S. Truett Cathy Scholar Award. The award, which is given to 25 employees per year, is $1,000 that goes toward the tuition at the college or university of the recipients choosing. In this case, Gillie’s scholarship went towards his tuition at Brigham Young University in Utah, where he is studying engineering. Gillie is the fourth recipient of the scholarship at the Eastchase, Ala. location, which is right outside of Montgomery, Ala. All four recipients worked under the same manager, Gary Soriono. Soriono has been with Chick-‐fil-‐A for over 30 years, and was even there the first year the award was given. “One of the first 25 awards of the S. Truett Cathy Scholar Award went to one of my employees. I am very proud of all of them, including Alex, who personifies the qualities the S. Truett Cathy Scholar Award was created to recognize,” says Soriono. Two other Alabama Chick-‐fil-‐A student employees received the award, bringing the total Alabama recipients of the award over the years to 30.
Another scholarship recipient this year is Keesa Williams, an employee at a location in Millington, Tenn. She is now studying history at the University of Memphis. “I think it is great that Chick-‐fil-‐A provides scholarships to employees like me to help them reach their dreams,” says Williams. Chick-‐fil-‐A always gives back to its employees and the community. This can be traced back to 1982 when Chick-‐fil-‐A founder, S. Truett Cathy, and his wife, Jeannette set up the WinShape Foundation. The WinShape Foundation’s purpose is to strengthen families and bring people closer to each other. But it does so much more than that. Part of the WinShape foundation is the WinShape College program. Since it began, more than 1,018 students have participated in it, providing each of them up to $4,000 annually in scholarship money. The WinShape College program sparked Chick-‐fil-‐A to do even more, which is when it created the S. Cathy Truett Scholar Award. The owners of Chick-‐fil-‐A, including Truett, feel very strongly about education and giving back, which is why these programs are a perfect thing for the company to take part in. “For several generations now it has been a priority for me to encourage and support our team members as they seek to further their education,” says Truett. Soriano credits the success of the scholarship recipients that have worked under him to hard work and the ability to lead while working in a team setting. The
S. Truett Cathy award will bring all the recipients, including Gillie and Williams, closer to their dreams. Sidebar: Only 66.2 percent of high school graduates go on to enroll in college. Each year, the S. Truett Cathy Scholar award provides $1.2 million to employees so they can continue their education. So far, Chick-‐fil-‐A has donated more than $30 million to help more than 30,000 employees attend more than 500 different universities.